Mar 212011

Part of the Mission Statement for City Council Watchdog is to ‘promote awareness of local issues among Naperville citizen-voters’. Occasionally we need to be ‘set straight’ by our readers. It was pointed out to us that our posting dated March 4 titled ‘Naperville City Council Saved by the Bell’ stated “All ten presenters made compelling points against continuing the Smart Grid project” which would have been correct  if we would have included “without additional research to answer very important health-safety related questions along with privacy issues. So the issue is not that they oppose the smart grid or the meters but rather they oppose the apparent lack of awareness the Naperville City Council used in making their decision to approve the project without full knowledge and satisfactory answers to citizen concerns.

Now what makes this situation all the more interesting is that it comes almost immediately after another evident fiasco involving the Naperville City Council’s ill-advised approval and implementation of the new emergency radio system. Many firefighters and police officers along with a good number of Naperville citizens including Naperville citizen Bill Eagan strongly feel the communication system is littered with fatal flaws.

City Manager Doug Krieger agreed with Eagan that the communication system “is currently not operating at an acceptable level. The safety of our public safety personnel is paramount.” So if ‘safety’ is ‘paramount’ then why was this system implemented and why is the Naperville City Council moving forward albeit in small steps with the Smart Grid initiative since there are health concerns with the project’s technology. Watch and listen to the words of Naperville citizen Jennifer Stahl when she presents the Naperville City Council and City Attorney with an interesting question regarding the Smart Grid project.

Did you notice the deafening sound of silence from the Naperville City Council and City Attorney at the end of her question, or at least the sound of no response to her query?

Getting back to the Emergency Radio System that the Naperville City Council supported and approved, consider the following perceptible fatal flaws: frequent loss of contact with first responders based on ‘dead spots’ within city limits, incoherent transmissions with the digital system and how voices are interpreted, interference with other emergency equipment within the vehicles including sirens and lights and the inability to maintain all-important contact when buildings are entered.

No wonder Naperville citizens have trust issues with the ability of their local leadership in the Naperville City Council to exercise good judgment and critical thinking when it comes to their decision-making skills and talent. Watch and listen to Naperville citizen Lisa Rooney when she accurately and respectfully addresses the Naperville City Council.

If you still have doubts as to whether or not Naperville City Council members use sound and time-tested wisdom, watch and listen to the words of Councilman Bob Fieseler when he loosely considers the comparison the wireless technology of garage door openers with the Smart Grid.

Now that thought process and wisdom might apply if and when the Naperville City Council requires and pays millions of our tax dollars for the installation of garage door openers, but to try to pass that sideways logic off to an enlightened Naperville citizenry is demeaning to the intelligence of our community.

The Emergency Radio System fiasco is a $20 million debacle, followed by millions of tax-payer dollars for the Smart Grid and now, and according to Naperville Finance Director Karen DeAngelis, Naperville is projected to have a general fund deficit of $13.7 million in 2013, $16.8 million in 2014, $19.4 million in 2015, and topping out at $25.9 million in 2016; and part of the Naperville  City Council’s answer to addressing the budget deficit  is to layoff 4 police officers while millions are spent on projects that are flawed or not fully researched.

If it sounds like the Naperville City Council is out of control, then the record is being set straight.